Does life get in the way of love or does love get in the way of life?
Riley Silk, captain of the Warriors Ice Hockey team at Dalesburg High, doesn’t think life can be lived if love is present. If there’s two things in life he knows to be true, it’s that love causes pain and hockey is his ticket to a better life. He’s worked hard to maintain his Frozen Silk reputation in order to stay focused on his duties and goals.
Audrey Jacobs, the Warriors’ number one fan, believes life can’t be lived without love. She can find love and beauty in the muddiest of situations. Her best friend, Riley, is under a lot of stress at home, so she does her best to brighten his mood whenever she can.
When lines cross and blur, they struggle to keep control of the simplicity their friendship once held. With Audrey’s outlook on life usually surrounded by light, the growing darkness of her doubts and insecurities threaten to deflect her toward the wrong path.
Can she find her true self before her world burns around her? When truths become lies, can Riley find the strength to fight his way through his own personal darkness that clings to his mind and soul? Can he win this face-off that life has dropped in his zone, or will fate take him out of the game completely?
Who keeps the puck?
**Warning- Several abuse topics are discussed in this story, which includes parental alienation, physical abuse, alcohol abuse, and mild drug abuse.**
“This or that?” Audrey asks.
I drum my fingers on the armrest as I think. “Music or movies?”
She glances at me sideways. “Music. Fiction or non-fiction.”
“Fiction. Dancing or singing?”
She laughs. “Dancing in the rain. Dancing on ice or falling on ice?”
“I practically danced on the ice tonight!” I snort. “I don’t fall…often.”
“I don’t mean that kind of dancing.”
“Like? A slow dance or something?” She nods. “And shall I ask Rob to be my partner?”
“Well, you could do a crazy one armed, one legged, booty shakin’ dance after a win,” she offers.
I laugh, loudly. “Where do you come up with this?” She shrugs a shoulder as she merges with interstate traffic. “In that case, fall. High heels or bikini wax?”
“You say fall because you’re a chicken. Do you even know what a bikini wax is?”
“If it’s like the name…then yes, and I’m not a chicken.”
“You are too, and I’d choose high heels. Feathers or snow?”
“You’d break your ankle! Snow. I’m still not a chicken,” I argue.
“I’d likely break both, but you are a chicken.”
“Will you stop calling me a chicken?”
The sound of her laughter centers me, I was meant to be right here with her. Just to hear her voice, her laugh…
“I will stop when you do a one armed, one legged, booty shakin’ dance on ice for me.” I hang my head. “Oh, and it has to be after a win, on home ice, and everyone has to see it.”
“Not gonna happen, Aud.”
“Same as usual, Chicken?” she asks as we pull into McDonalds drive-thru.
“Not a chicken, yes.”
“Okay.” She waits with the window cracked for an employee to take our order. A feminine voice comes through, asking what we’ll have. “One chocolate shake for the chicken and one vanilla shake for the tomboy,” she replies with a laugh.
“How many piece chicken nugget?”
Audrey laughs harder. “No chicken please, just the two shakes.”
“See, a sign you should knock the chicken shit off.”
“Not a chance, Chicken.” She clucks for good measure.
“No electricity or no plumbing,” I ask, hoping to pull her away from the teasing.
“No electricity, Chicken. One girl or all the girls?”
“One,” I say, burning a hole in the side of her head.
“Aw, a romantic chicken. I don’t think I’ve ever heard about one of those.” She tilts her face toward mine. Both of us just staring at the other, with very little space between us. My eyes fall shut and I lean back further into my seat. Way to make things awkward again, idiot. Chicken.
“Pink or purple?” I ask.
She groans, passing me the milkshakes the guy in at the window handed her. “Purple. Doer or dreamer?”
I chew on the inside of my cheek as I work the straws out of their wrappers. “Doer.” I’m too much of a dreamer. Or planner, but I don’t follow through.